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Silver prices had a volatile week, which started with a down day Monday closing at $34.25.
The week was poised to be somewhat "quiet" after the previous one was full of central bank news from the United States and Europe.
But living up to its reputation for swings, silver turned and hit a six-month high on Tuesday at $35.10.
And just when we thought it was time for a slight breather from monetary action, the Bank of Japan announced Wednesday that it would expand its stimulus program with 10 trillion yen ($126 billion).
Japanese silver investors were more excited than other traders about the news, driving up silver prices by 2.9%. The United States was less so as Decembersilver futures on the COMEX fell $0.103 to $34.615 an ounce on the news before closing up 1.5% for the day.
On Thursday, December silver rose 0.27% to $34.68.
So what can we expect next from this fickle metal with its great year?
In a Scotiabank note this week, analysts wrote of silver, "We remain bullish … and see this as a healthy consolidation after a strong rally."
Here's why the silver bull party is still going strong.
Investor Demand Boosts Silver Prices
Besides the recent silver price rally triggered by QE3, investors feel confident that central bank stimulus will continue worldwide – a bullish trend for precious metals and commodities.
Providing support for increasing investor demand is a jump in silver exchange-traded funds.
On Wednesday, the Silver Institute announced in a press release that year-to-date, investors have bought more than 32 million ounces of silver in ETFs. Through Sept. 15, holdings have now reached over 608 million ounces with a $20.5 billion value.
With silver's 20% price rise this year from its growing demand from industrial uses and as a safe haven, some analysts have raised their fourth quarter price projections.
Michael DiRienzo, Executive Director of the Silver Institute said, "Investors and analysts are bullish on expectations that additional central banks will do more to attempt to stimulate economies in order to increase consumption and spur employment, leading to even greater investor attention on the 4,000 year allure of silver as a safe haven and a store of value."
A quick look at these silver ETFs and you'll see proof of the increases year-to-date: iShares Silver Trust (NYSE: SLV) is up 24.09%; PowerShares DB Silver Fund (NYSE: DBS) 24.11%, and Global X Silver Miners (NYSE: SIL) 19.68%.
Adding some fodder to silver's allure is a recent report by Lloyds TSB Private Banking. It disclosed that in the past decade, silver has been the best-performing commodity.
Banking Times reported that in the period between 2002 and 2012, silver prices rose 572%.
Coming in behind silver at No.2 was gold with its 428% gain.
Looking from a sector perspective, precious metals have been the highest performer at +358% but they have experienced the greatest declines, both at -19%.
From the numbers, Ashish Misra, head of investments at Lloyds TSB Private Banking, said, "Looking forward, commodity prices are likely to be driven by the level of demand from emerging economies such as China and India."
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